Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Aghiorgitiko Greek  grape of Nemea, planted almost everywhere. Versatile, delicious, from soft and charming to dense and age-worthy. A must-try.
Agiorghitiko  See AGHIORGITIKO.
Aglianico  Southern Italian. Dark, deep and fashionable.
Aragonez  See TEMPRANILLO.
Auxerrois See MALBEC, if red. White Auxerrois has its own entry in white grapes.
Băbească Neagră Traditional “black grandmother grape” of Moldova; light body and ruby-red
Babič Dark grape from Dalmatia, grown in stony seaside v’yds round Sibenik. Exceptional
quality potential.
Baga: Portugal. Bairrada grape. Dark and tannic. Great potential but hard to grow.
Barbera Widely grown in Italy, at its best in Piedmont: high acidity, low tannin, cherry fruit.
Ranges from barriqued and serious to semi-sweet and frothy. Fashionable in California and
Australia; promising in Argentina.
Blauburger  Austrian cross: BLAUER PORTUGIESER and BLAUFRÄNKISCH. Simple wines.
Blauburgunder See PINOT N.
Blauer Portugieser Central European, esp Germany (Rheinhessen, Pfalz, mostly for rosé),
Austria, Hungary. Light, fruity reds to drink slightly chilled when young. Not for laying down.
Blauer Zweigelt See ZWEIGELT.
Blaufränkisch (Kékfrankos, Lemberger, Modra Frankinja) Originally Hungarian; now big in
Austria, widely planted in Mittelburgenland: medium-bodied, peppery acidity, a
characteristic salty note, berry aromas and eucalyptus. Often blended with CAB SAUV or
ZWEIGELT. Lemberger in Germany (speciality of Württemberg), Kékfrankos in Hungary,
Modra Frankinja in Slovenia.

Cinsault (Cinsaut) A staple of southern France. if low-yielding; wine-lake stuff if not.
Makes gd rosé. One of the parents of PINOTAGE.
Cornalin du Valais Swiss speciality, esp in Valais.
Corvina Dark and spicy; one of the best grapes in the Valpolicella blend. Corvinone, even
darker, is a separate variety.

Boğazkere Tannic and Turkish. Produces full-bodied wines.
Bonarda Several different grapes sail under this flag. In Italy’s Oltrepò Pavese, an alias for
Croatina: soft, fresh frizzante and still red; Piedmont’s Bonarda is different. Bonarda in
Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna is an alias for Uva Rara. Argentina’s Bonarda can be any of
these, or something else.
Bouchet See CAB FR.
Brunello Alias for SANGIOVESE, splendid at Montalcino.
Cabernet Franc [Cab Fr] The lesser of two sorts of Cab grown in Bordeaux but dominant in StÉmilion.
Outperforms CAB SAUV in the Loire (Chinon, Saumur-Champigny, rosé), in Hungary
(depth and complexity in Villány and Szekszárd) and often in Italy. Much of northeast Italy’s
Cab Fr turned out to be CARMENÈRE. Used in Bordeaux blends of Cab Sauv/MERLOT across the
Cabernet Sauvignon [Cab Sauv] Grape of great character: spicy, herby, tannic, with
characteristic blackcurrant aroma. Main grape of the Médoc; also makes some of the best
California, South American, East European reds. Vies with Shiraz in Australia. Grown almost
everywhere, and led vinous renaissance in eg. Italy. Top wines need ageing; usually benefits
from blending with eg. MERLOT, CAB FR, SYRAH, TEMPRANILLO, SANGIOVESE, etc. Makes
aromatic rosé.
Cannonau GRENACHE in its Sardinian manifestation; can be v. fine, potent.
Carignan (Carignano, Cariñena) Low-yielding old vines now v. fashionable everywhere from
south of France to Chile; best: Corbières. Lots of depth and vibrancy. Overcropped Carignan
is wine-lake fodder. Common in North Africa, Spain (as Cariñena) and California.
Carignano See CARIGNAN.
Carineña See CARIGNAN.
Carmenère An old Bordeaux variety that is now a star, rich and deep, in Chile (where it’s
pronounced carmeneary). Bordeaux is looking at it again.
Castelão See PERIQUITA.
Chiavennasca See NEBBIOLO.

Dolcetto Source of soft, seductive dry red in Piedmont. Now high fashion.
Dornfelder Deliciously light reds, straightforward, often rustic, and well-coloured, in Germany,
parts of the USA, England. German plantings doubled since 2000.
Fer Servadou Exclusive to Southwest France, particularly important in Marcillac, Gaillac and
St-Mont. Redolent of soft fruits and spice.
Fetească Neagră Romania: “black maiden grape” with potential as showpiece variety and being
more widely planted. Needs care and low yields in v’yd, but can give deep, full-bodied
wines with character.
Frühburgunder An ancient mutation of PINOT N, found mostly in Germany’s Ahr but also in
Franken and Württemberg, where it is confusingly known as Clevner. Lower acidity and thus
more approachable than Pinot N.
Gamay The Beaujolais grape: light, v. fragrant wines, at their best young, except in Beaujolais
crus (see France) where quality can be superb, wines for 2–10 yrs. Makes even lighter wine
in the Loire Valley, in central France, in Switzerland and Savoie. “Napa Gamay” in
Gamza See KADARKA.
Garnacha (Cannonau, Garnatxa, Grenache) Becoming ultra-fashionable with terroiristes,
who admire the way it expresses its site. Also gd for rosé and Vin Doux Naturel (esp in
southern France, Spain, California) but also mainstay of beefy Priorat. Old-vine versions are
prized in South Australia. Usually blended with other varieties. Cannonau in Sardinia,
Grenache in France.
Garnatxa See GARNACHA.
Graciano Spanish; part of Rioja blend. Aroma of violets; tannic, lean structure reminiscent of
PETIT VERDOT. Difficult to grow but fashionable, planted more now.
Grenache See GARNACHA.
Grignolino Italy: gd everyday table wine in Piedmont.
Kadarka (Gamza) Spicy, light reds in East Europe. In Hungary revived for Bikavér.
Kékfrankos Hungarian BLAUFRÄNKISCH.
Lagrein Northern Italian, deep colour, bitter finish, rich, plummy fruit. DOC in Alto Adige (see
Lambrusco Productive grape of the lower Po Valley. Quintessentially Italian, cheerful, sweet and fizzy red

Lefkada Rediscovered Cypriot variety, higher quality than Mavro. Usually blended because
tannins can be aggressive.
Malbec (Auxerrois, Côt) Minor in Bordeaux, major in Cahors (alias Auxerrois) and the star in
Argentina. Dark, dense, tannic but fleshy wine capable of real quality. High-altitude versions
in Argentina are the bee’s knees.
Maratheftiko Deep-coloured Cypriot grape with quality potential. Tricky to grow well but
getting better as winemakers learn to manage it.
Mavro The most-planted black grape of Cyprus. Easier to cultivate than MARATHEFTIKO, but only
moderate quality. Best for rosé.
Mavrodaphne Greek; the name means “black laurel”. Used for sweet fortifieds; speciality of
Patras, but also found in Cephalonia. Dry versions on the increase and show great promise.
Mavrotragano Greek, almost extinct; now revived; found on Santorini. Top quality.
Mavrud Probably Bulgaria’s best. Spicy, dark, plummy late-ripener native to Thrace. Ages well.
Melnik Bulgarian grape originating in the region of the same name. Dark colour and a nice dense,
tart-cherry character. Ages well.
Mencía Making waves in Bierzo, Spain. Aromatic, with steely tannins, and lots of acidity.
Excellent with a gd producer.
Merlot The grape behind the great fragrant and plummy wines of Pomerol and (with CAB FR) StÉmilion.
An important element in Médoc reds: soft and strong (and à la mode) in California,
Washington, Chile, Australia; lighter but often gd in north Italy (can be world-class in
Tuscany), Italian Switzerland, Slovenia, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand (NZ), etc.
Perhaps too adaptable for its own gd: can be v. dull; less than ripe it tastes green. Much
planted in East Europe; Romania’s most planted red.
Modra Frankinja See BLAUFRÄNKISCH
Rubin Bulgarian cross, NEBBIOLO x SYRAH. Peppery, full-bodied. Gd in blends, but increasingly
used on its own.
Sagrantino ; Italian grape found in Umbria for powerful, cherry-flavoured wines.
St-Laurent Dark, smooth, full-flavoured Austrian speciality. Can be light and juicy or deep and
structured; fashion for overextraction is over. Also in the Pfalz.
Sangiovese (Brunello, Morellino, Sangioveto) Principal red grape of west-central Italy with a reputation of being difficult to get right, but sublime and long-lasting when it is. Research has
produced great improvements. Dominant in Chianti, Vino Nobile, Brunello di Montalcino,
Morellino di Scansano and various fine IGT offerings. Also in Umbria generally (eg.
Montefalco and Torgiano) and across the Apennines in Romagna and the Marches. Not so
clever in the warmer, lower-altitude v’yds of the Tuscan coast, or in other parts of Italy
despite its near ubiquity. Interesting in Australia.
Zinfandel [Zin] Fruity, adaptable grape of California with blackberry-like, and sometimes
metallic, flavour. Can be structured and gloriously lush, ageing for decades, but also makes
“blush” pink, usually sweet, jammy. Genetically the same as southern Italian PRIMITIVO and
Croatia’s Crljenak, which is almost extinct.
Zweigelt (Blauer Zweigelt) BLAUFRÄNKISCH x ST-LAURENT, it is popular in Austria for aromatic,
dark, supple, velvety wines. Also found in Hungary and Germany.
 Xinomavro Greece’s answer to NEBBIOLO. “Sharp-black”; the basis for Naoussa, Rapsani,
Goumenissa, Amindeo. Some rosé, still or sparkling. Top quality can age for decades. Being tried in China.

Modri Pinot See PINOT N.
Monastrell See MOURVÈDRE.
Mondeuse Found in Savoie; deep colour, gd acidity. Could be same as Italy’s REFOSCO.
Montepulciano Deep-coloured grape dominant in Italy’s Abruzzo and important along Adriatic
coast from the Marches to southern Apulia. Also name of a famous Tuscan town, unrelated.
Morellino Alias for SANGIOVESE in Scansano, southern Tuscany.
Mourvèdre (Mataro, Monastrell) Star of southern France and Australia (sometimes as Mataro)
and, as Monastrell, Spain. Excellent dark, aromatic, tannic grape, gd for blending. Enjoying
new interest in eg. South Australia and California.
Napa Gamay See GAMAY.
Nebbiolo (Chiavennasca, Spanna) One of Italy’s best red grapes; makes Barolo, Barbaresco,
Gattinara and Valtellina. Intense, nobly fruity, perfumed wine but v. tannic: improves for yrs.
Negroamaro Apulian “black bitter” red grape with potential for both high quality or high volume.
Nerello Mascalese Medium-coloured, characterful Sicilian red grape capable of making wines
of considerable elegance.
Nero d’Avola Dark-red grape of Sicily. Quality levels from sublime to industrial.
Nielluccio Corsican; plenty of acidity and tannin. Gd for rosé.
Öküzgözü Soft, fruity Turkish grape, usually blended with BOĞAZKERE, rather like MERLOT in
Bordeaux is blended with CAB SAUV.
Pamid Bulgarian: light, soft, everyday red.
Periquita (Castelão) Planted throughout south Portugal, esp in Península de Setúbal. Originally
nicknamed Periquita after Fonseca’s popular (trademarked) brand. Firm-flavoured,
raspberryish reds develop a figgish, tar-like quality.
Petite Sirah Nothing to do with SYRAH; rustic, tannic, dark wine. May be blended with ZIN in
California; also found in South America, Mexico and Australia.
Petit Verdot Excellent but awkward Médoc grape, now increasingly planted in CAB areas
worldwide for extra fragrance. Mostly blended but some gd varietals, esp in Virginia.
Sangioveto See SANGIOVESE.
Saperavi Gd, balanced, v. long-lived wine in Georgia, Ukraine, etc. Blends v. well with CAB
SAUV (eg. in Moldova). Huge potential, seldom gd winemaking.
Schwarzriesling PINOT MEUNIER in Württemberg.
Sciacarello Corsican, herby and peppery. Not v. tannic.
Shiraz See SYRAH.
Spanna See NEBBIOLO.
Spätburgunder German for PINOT N.
Syrah (Shiraz) The great Rhône red grape: tannic, purple and peppery wine that matures
superbly. Important as Shiraz in Australia, increasingly gd under either name in Chile and
South Africa, terrific in NZ (esp Hawke’s Bay). Widely grown.
Tinta Roríz See TEMPRANILLO.
Touriga Nacional Top Port grape in the Douro Valley, now widely used for floral, stylish table
wines. Seen as Portugal’s best red. Australian Touriga might be this or one of several others;
California’s Touriga is usually Touriga Franca.
Trincadeira (Tinta Amarela) Portugal;, spicy Alentejo. Tinta Amarela in Douro.
Trollinger (Schiava, Vernatsch) Popular pale red in Germany’s Württemberg; identical with Tyrolean Vernatsch and Schiava. In Italy, snappy and brisk.
Vernatsch See TROLLINGER.

Pinotage Singular South African grape (PINOT N x CINSAULT). Has had a rocky ride, but is
emerging engaging, satisfying, even profound, from best producers. Gd rosé, too. Fashionable
“coffee Pinotage” is espresso-toned, sweetish and aimed at youth market.
Pinot Crni See PINOT N.
Pinot Meunier (Schwarzriesling) 3rd grape of Champagne, scorned by some, used by most.
Softer, earlier drinking than PINOT N; useful for blending. Found in many places; vinified as a
white for fizz or occasionally (eg. Germany’s Württemberg, as Schwarzriesling) as still red.
Samtrot is local variant in Württemberg.
Pinot Noir (Blauburgunder, Modri Pinot, Pinot Crni, Spätburgunder) [Pinot N] The glory of
Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, with scent, flavour and texture that are unmatched anywhere. Recent
German efforts have been excellent. in Austria, esp in Kamptal, Burgenland,
Thermenregion. Light wines in Hungary; light to weightier in Switzerland, where it is the main
red variety and also known as Clevner. Splendid results in California’s Sonoma, Carneros
and Central Coast, as well as Oregon, Ontario, Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, NZ’s
South Island (Central Otago) and South Africa’s Walker Bay. Some v. pretty Chileans. New
French clones promise improvement in Romania. Modri Pinot in Slovenia; probably country’s
best red. In Italy, best in northeast and gets worse as you go south. PINOT BL and PINOT GR are
mutations of Pinot N.
Plavac Mali Croatian, and related to ZIN, like so much round there. Lots of quality potential, can
age well, though can also be alcoholic and dull.
Primitivo Southern Italian grape, originally from Croatia, making big, dark, rustic wines, now
fashionable because genetically identical to ZIN. Early ripening, hence the name.
Refosco (Refošk) In northeast Italy possibly a synonym for MONDEUSE of Savoie. Various DOCs
in Italy, esp Colli Orientali. Deep, flavoursome and age-worthy wines, particularly in warmer
climates. Dark, high acidity. Refošk in Slovenia and points east is genetically different but
tastes similar.
Refošk See REFOSCO.
Roter Veltliner Austrian; the red version of GRÜNER VELTLINER. There is also a Frühroter and a
Brauner Veltliner.
Tannat Raspberry-perfumed, highly tannic force behind Madiran, Tursan and other firm reds
from Southwest France. Also rosé. Now the star of Uruguay.
Tempranillo (Aragonez, Cecibel, Tinto Fino, Tinta del País, Tinta Roríz, Ull de Llebre)
Aromatic, fine Rioja grape, called Ull de Llebre in Catalonia, Cencibel in La Mancha, Tinto
Fino in Ribera del Duero, Tinta Roríz in Douro, Tinta del País in Castile, Aragonez in
southern Portugal. Now Australia, too. V. fashionable; elegant in cool climates, beefy in
warm. Early ripening, long maturing.
Teran Close cousin of REFOSCO, same dark colour, high acidity, appetizing, esp on limestone
(karst). Slovenia and thereabouts.
Teroldego Rotaliano Italian: Trentino’s best indigenous variety makes serious, full-flavoured
wine, esp on the flat Campo Rotaliano.
Tinta Amarela See TRINCADEIRA.
Tinta del País See TEMPRANILLO.
Tinta Negra Until recently called Tinta Negra Mole. Easily Madeira’s most planted grape and
the mainstay of cheaper Madeira. Now coming into its own in Colheita wines (See Port, Sherry & Madeira).


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